This Sucks BallsbyTransverse©
We all have opinions as readers - every time we read anything, we make a judgment of how good or bad it is. Most times, like when we read a magazine article or a book, we don't get the opportunity to tell the author what we did or didn't like about their work. Likewise, the authors don't have the benefit of instant feedback on their work, and it becomes more difficult to discern what they need to fix and what they don't.
Lucky for us, Literotica authors have an advantage that many print media authors don't - they can receive instant and unedited feedback from their readers seconds after they have read the author's submission. This enables the author to recognize their glaring errors immediately and refrain from repeating them in later works. The readers get to have their opinions noted and hopefully, heeded. Everybody's happy.
At least, they ought to be.
Too often, readers comment authors' submissions and leave criticisms which do not help the author in any way. They consist of groundless praises and relentless bashings alike, leaving the author clueless as to what their readers loved and hated about their stories. They are left with a collection of meaningless comments, few of which have any value, as far as fixing their work's problems go.
There is a simple fix to this problem, and hopefully readers who decide to give feedback will take these points into consideration.
Enumerate the problems you see in an author's work. You can't expect them to know what is wrong by simply telling them you didn't like their submission. Specific complaints about subject matter, style, and overall quality allow the author to review his or her work and spot their problem areas. A writer who knows exactly what didn't set well with their readers will be the best equipped to prevent future mishaps. Example:
Your story sucks! I hate it, its one of the worst stories I've ever read! The whole thing was stupid and you need to go kill yourself!
I'm sorry to say I didn't enjoy your submission. The characters were shallow, the setting was poorly described, and the situation was wildly unrealistic. There were many grammatical errors - so many that the story was unreadable. Get an editor.
Even positive feedback should be specific. Authors love hearing that you loved their submission, but telling them what they did right tells them which traits of their story they should keep around for future submissions.
Great story! Keep it up!
I loved this story. The characters were so realistic; I just loved the fact that I could see what they were thinking. It really made me feel connected to them and made me care what happened to them. The sex scene was also very creative. Can't wait for the sequel.
A few extra words tacked on to your opinion, whether positive or negative, will be greatly appreciated by the author and other readers alike.
Stay on topic.
The comments section of the submission is not a tabloid rag where readers can go to complain about the state of the world. Authors want to hear what you think of their work, not your opinions about society at large. There's a section here for that, and it's called Reviews and Essays. Here are some examples of what not to do:
I hate niggers! All they ever do is ruin society and make life dangerous. All the black people I've ever met have been rude, fat, and ignorant. They should all just die! Keep them out of your stories, fuckface.
Good job, I love that the republican guy died, I hate republicans. They're the cause of all of America's problems because they're so money hungry.
I can't believe he was having sex with an Iraqi woman! After they killed all of those people on September 11, he should be killed for treason. Everyone in her family is probably a terrorist, waiting for another chance to kill Americans. I hope he gets AIDS.
Authors want to know what you think of their story. At the risk of sounding cliché- you might have strong opinions about the world you live in, but neither the writer nor the other readers give a shit.
If you don't approve of the subject matter, stay out of the section.
I find few things more amusing than someone who hates the topic of the story they're commenting on. If you aren't into gay sex, stay out of the Gay Male section. If incest disgusts you, don't read stories about incest. It's very simple. Unfortunately, this seems to escape many people, and comments like this are ridiculously common:
I hate fags! Why would anyone want to read about two guys fucking? Worst story ever!
Garbage. I can't believe some men get off on being treated like this. It's sick. Get off of Literotica, you're the worst writer ever.
Who ever wrote this must be a sick-minded individual and should get some help. He's victimizing this poor girl in his stories because he wants to do this in real life. Nobody wants to be spanked during sex.
Comments of this nature are worthless to both the author and the other readers. The author wants to hear what the readers think of their storytelling abilities, not whether or not readers approve of the subject matter. You waste valuable time and space by commenting on stories you knew you wouldn't like in the first place.
The comment center is not a chat room.
Don't write to other readers on an author's comment page. This area is for story comments only. If you want to talk to a specific commenter, find their page and write them a personal message. Nobody came here to hear you argue with another visitor about global warming.
Don't try to put italics and bold typeface in a comment.
When the author checks his or her comments in their personal profile, all they'll see it a bunch of code mixed in with the text. It'll make it very hard to read. Don't do it.
Don't attack the author personally in response to their fictional story.
This ought to be common sense, but, as they say, common sense just isn't that common. This is rude. Don't start dropping insults about a person's race, sexual orientation, religion, or opinions because of something their characters said or did. If you didn't like their character, say so. Just because the character holds opinions you don't approve of doesn't necessarily mean that the author feels the same way; characters in stories are just that. It won't earn you any respect or admiration from other readers. They'll just think you're a douche.
Make sure you rate the story for how good it was as a whole, not just one character or aspect. Don't rate the story down just because you didn't like the character's appearance, or you would rather the sex have taken place in a different setting. You're not being asked to collaborate, only to comment on what's written. I hate getting my average dragged down because somebody didn't like my character's name, and so do other authors.
All in all, feedback is about improvement. Authors open up their stories for comments because they desire the opinions of their readers; we want to make you happy. Respect your favorite writer and all the writers on the site by using comment areas appropriately. Authors really appreciate valuable commentary.